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Gazprom tower to be moved from central St. Petersburg

by at 09/12/2010 18:26


St. Petersburg’s historic skyline looks safe, after Gazprom’s planned sky-scraper has been given the push from the northern capital’s centre.

Petersburg City Hall announced on Wednesday that a new place to build will be decided soon, one week after mayor Valentina Matvienyenko told builders to steer clear of the UNESCO world heritage designated centre.

“We have asked builders to present other variants for [the location of] the proposed building,” Igor Metelsky, deputy governor, told RIA Novosti. “I think we will enter an active stage in considering the bids before the end of the year,” he said. “I can tell you that we are already looking into two projects.”



Fierce public opposition erupted when energy monolith Gazprom got the go ahead from Matvinyenko to build a needle-like tower next to the 18th century Smoly Cathedral.

Critics – from UNESCO to local residents – said the Okhta Centre’s 400m tower would ruin the city’s classical skyline.

Oleg Barkov, head of Knight-Frank St Petersburg and the main consultant for the project, was quick to turn the outcry to the authorities’ advantage.

“St Petersburg has once again proved that we present a powerful social movement with strong opinions. And the political system is so arranged that the authorities tend to take into account the opinions of the townspeople,” he told Petersburg news agency Fontanka.


Back to the drawing board

“Whatever the new territory, you still have to restart all the work related to the design of transport and engineering infrastructure. I understand that already much has been done in this direction,” said Barkov.

And a less salubrious location is the way forward this time. “The Okhta Centre-2 could now be put in an industrial belt, at the crossroads of the historic centre and the dormitory areas.

“But  dialogue is needed, the city really needs this investor and so the interests of Gazprom would also have to be considered,” said Nikolai Kazansky, CEO of consulting company Colliers International.

Power to the people is not going to hurt St Petersburg’s charms to investors, assures Barkov, “Experienced investors already know that they should start their work upon consultation with qualified experts and prior warning about the stringent procedures for obtaining approval for investment projects and especially in the area of the historical centre or associated areas,” he said.


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